Brighton Book Group for Writers – this week ELIZABETH HAYNES
Louisa Stevenson, organisor of the Book group for Brighton Writers, just dropped me a line to remind me that author ELIZABETH HAYNES will be visiting the group on Wednesday at 7pm at Jackie O nightclub, Preston Street, BN1 2HX.
Please email Louise to RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org. The cost is £5.I can’t make it, but I would urge anyone who can to go. I was fortunate to attend a writing retreat Elizabeth organised at West Dean College last November. She is a generous, thoughtful and extremely skilful author willing to share ideas and strategies AND her writing is the kind that raises the hairs on the back of your neck.
Elizabeth is a police intelligence analyst so there will be plenty to talk about if you are interested in crime fiction. Her third novel is coming out this month. Her first – Into the Darkest Corner – was Amazon’s Best Book of the Year 2011 and became a New York Times bestseller. It has been translated into 30 languages and is the subject of the Wednesday meeting.
Go! Go! Be inspired!
Last year I interviewed Elizabeth for WHAT THE DICKENS magazine.Each issue in my Desert Island Reads column I ask a guest writer to recommend eight books that they have read, re-read and would willingly read again.
Here was Elizabeth’s choice.
If I was only to be allowed to read eight books for the rest of my days, I would be the least unhappy about having these… (although I’d quite like to have the Collected Poems of T S Eliot as well, which surely wouldn’t count as a ninth book…?)
The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
I started reading Ray Bradbury’s short stories when I was a child and loved them. They challenge me to stretch my imagination and this collection is my favourite – every story is different, and clever, and tied neatly together with a vision of Bradbury’s speciality – small town American.
The Still Point by Amy Sackville
I read this book last year and was overwhelmed by it – the descriptions of the Arctic are chillingly beautiful, enough to make you shiver on a hot day.
Dark Matter by Michelle Paver
Also set in the Arctic, this is a ghost story that I found so deliciously terrifying that I had to go and watch Bridget Jones in the middle of the night the first time I read it, just to calm myself back down again.
Lonely Hearts by John Harvey
Hard as it is to choose a favourite crime writer (I have at least ten whose novels I read and re-read), the one I recommend most often is John Harvey. His police procedurals are the best I’ve read, and this is the first Resnick novel so a great place to start.
Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
I was recommended this by a friend and since then I’ve been obsessively consuming everything I can read about PC Peter Grant. It’s an accurate representation of what it’s really like to work for the police, with the twist that the main character can do magic. As if that isn’t genius enough, all three books so far (this is the first in the series) are wonderfully funny too.
The Jigsaw Man by Paul Britton
Britton’s revealing account of his work as a forensic psychologist on some of the UK’s most high profile murder investigations has been heavily criticised on Amazon following the acquittal of Colin Stagg for the murder of Rachel Nickell, but it remains a compelling if disturbing read, and one I’ve returned to many times.
The Sixth Lamentation by William Brodrick
I always like to be surprised by a novel, and this one surprised me all the way through. The writing is beautiful and immersive, the plot is clever and full of twists, and the characters in it completely real.
Arthur and George by Julian Barnes
This is a fictionalised account of the relationship between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and a young Anglo-Indian lawyer accused of a series of hideous crimes in Edwardian England. The best books for me are always the ones you’re not expecting to enjoy, and yet end up recommending to everyone you meet – and this is just such a book.
Photograph of Arthur Conan Doyle, Published in “Men and Women of the Day 1893”, Eglington & Co., England, 1893. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By the way, the Book group for Writers meets once a month and is open to writers, at any stage who want to enhance and improve their own writing skills, by examining other authors and listening to fellow writer’s opinions.